Although we had expected to hear about thatgamecompany’s next game as early as 2012, founder and creative lead Jenova Chen has confirmed that the new project is in the very early stages.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Chen said this very slow development isn’t unusual for the indie.
“It’s been almost a year now and we are still in a very pre, pre-production mode. It’s always been the pattern of thatgamecompany that we spent 75 per cent of time doing R&D and a smaller portion of time on production,” he said.
“When we go for a particular goal we have to do a lot of trial and error. It can feel like you are reaching out in the fog trying to find something.”
Chen has said that he wants the next game to be financially successful; although Journey was a commercial and critical hit, thatgamecompany went bankrupt making it and the developer was still waiting for royalties in March. As such, Chen wants to achieve “mass appeal” this time.
“John Hight who was head of External Development at Sony half joking said ‘you just need to make a couple of games to let your artistic ego out, so then you can actually focus on a game that will have mass appeal,’” Chen said.
“Cloud and Flower are very much egocentric about my own expression, Flow is more utilitarian and Journey is more about collaboration between various creative voices in the team. Our next game is going to be something that will relate to a wide audience on a human level. It is very exciting to see my own maturing and the team’s maturing and I’m curious to see what this next game could be.”
We know very little about the next game from the studio; Chen has hinted that it will be about connecting people and may use a touch interface. It is being funded by venture capitalists and will not be a platform exclusive.